5 Day Denver Itinerary // A Denver & Colorado Itinerary for Maximum Adventure

Addie Mountain Emerald Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
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Updated November 25, 2019

A girl with a blue backpack staring out at the Rocky mountains - the perfect day trip for a Denver itinerary
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Are you taking a trip to Denver soon? This 5 day Denver itinerary will have you spending your short time in Colorado exploring and adventuring to the max!

Colorado is the perfect place to visit if you’re seeking adventure. From hiking, to rock climbing, to whitewater rafting or mountain biking, everything is within your reach. 5 days in Denver alone is a lot of time,but that gives you plenty of opportunities to get out of the city and enjoy the best that Colorado has to offer!

With 5 days in Colorado, you can get a lot of adventure in. Just keep reading to see how you can have the perfect Colorado itinerary!

Denver itinerary Logistics

How to Get to Denver

Unless you’re road tripping, you’ll most likely be flying into Denver International Airport. Flights within America aren’t cheap, so start searching early and often to grab a good deal.

Click here to search for flight deals to Denver.

Where to Stay in Denver

Although this Colorado itinerary will be taking you all around the Denver area (meaning that it might mean slightly less transportation time to change hotels every night), I highly suggest that you base yourself in or nearby Denver as a convenience. While I was in Colorado I stayed with a friend in Littleton, a suburb of Denver, and it was a great base for exploring the rest of the area.

If you don’t have a friend in the area, then there are plenty of great hotels in Denver. Here are a few I recommend:

Ember Hostel – $ – This place is a luxury boutique hostel if I’ve ever seen one. With a 12-person hot tub, outdoor fire pit, and privacy bunks with blackout curtains, outlets, and shelves, you’ll never want to leave.

Hostel Fish – $ – Another quirky hostel option located in a building that used to be a brothel. Located in Downtown Denver, so if you’re only planning to explore the city you won’t need a car!

Hyatt Regency Denver – $$ – If you’re looking for a no-fuss, affordable hotel stay, then this is the place to go. It has great reviews and some rooms even offer mountain views!

Kimpton Hotel Born – $$$ – Kimpton Hotel Born is a boutique hotel with classy mountain cabin vibes and a terrace that offers mountain views. I really don’t think it gets much better than this!

The Ramble Hotel – $$$ – If you’re looking for a hotel that feels like you’ve stepped into a modern, glamed-up version of 17th century France, then this is it.

Booking.com

How to Get Around for this Colorado Itinerary

I highly suggest renting a car if at all possible while you’re in Colorado. Although it is theoretically possible to get around with public transport, it takes up much more time and could potentially be even more expensive than renting a car. This Colorado itinerary takes you all over the place (most places are a 1+ hour drive), so a car will make your life much, much easier.

Click here to get the cheapest deals on rental cars from Denver Airport!

If you don’t want to rent a car, you can take the train from the Airport to Denver Union Station. From there, there are some public transportation services to get you to your final destination. Check denver.org for more information.

Get a printable version of this itinerary to take with you on your trip!
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Five Days in Denver Itinerary

Colorado Itinerary Day One – Downtown Denver

Skyline of Downtown Denver, Colordo
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You’ve spent most of your time in Colorado so far out in the wilderness loving all of the adventure that this state offers. Now, head into Denver (or stay where you are if that’s where you’ve based yourself) and explore the Mile High City.

Here are a few ideas of things to add to your Denver itinerary.

Take a City Tour

If you’re looking for a great introduction to downtown Denver, then a walking tour is a great idea. I’m a huge fan of Urban Adventures, and their Denver Highlights tour will give you an absolutely amazing overview!

Not only will you pass by all of the top sights of Denver, with plenty of selfie opportunities, but you’ll also stop for a snack at a French creperie and admire the newly reformed Cherry Creek.

Don’t forget to ask your guide for their best local’s recommendations at the end–and use code ADDIE for 10% off!

Stroll Down 16th Street Mall

a colorful painted piano on Denver's 16th Street Mall
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16th Street Mall is a mile-long pedestrian mall designed by I.M. Pei. It’s a must on any Denver itinerary!

One of my favorite parts of the 16th Street Mall while I was there was all of the colorfully painted pianos. Have a seat and play at one of them if you’re feeling musical!

Find the Best Denver Street Art

a giant blue bear street art in denver
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Denver is absolutely chock full of fun street art like the giant Blue Bear that peers into the Colorado Convention Center.

Denver’s street art and murals are all over the place, and a must on any Denver itinerary!

Visit the Denver Art Museum

Another great artsy stop for your Denver itinerary is the Denver art museum. With over 70,000 pieces of all different kinds of styles, you’re sure to find something to catch your interest.

On a hot summer’s day, it’s an amazing respite from the heat as well!

Take a Food Tour

If you’re less of a culture vulture and more of a foodie, then a Denver food tour is an absolute must. You might be surprised, but Denver actually has an amazing variety of cuisine in its food scene!

This Denver food tour with Urban Adventures (I will ALWAYS choose them over any other tour provider when I’m in a location where they have tours, thanks to their local guides and off-the-beaten-path ethos) takes you from the LoDo (Lower Downtown) district to RiNo (River North), one of the fastest up-and-coming neighborhoods in the city.

You’ll sample food at an amazing locally-sourced restaurant, try 15 different Colorado beers, and even explore a bit of RiNo’s art scene (but with a full belly, so no worries 😉 ).

You can also use code ADDIE for 10% off any of Urban Adventures’ tours!

Grab Some Voodoo Doughnuts

Voodoo Doughnuts Denver Peanut Butter Oreo
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Voodoo Doughnuts is a cult favorite with locations in only a few trendy cities around the US. Denver has 2 locations – one on Broadway and one on Colfax Ave.

Their doughnuts are absolutely HUGE – but you deserve one after all the hiking you’ve been doing!

I highly recommend the Dirty Old Bastard (pictured above) or the classic Voodoo Doll.

Take a Brewery/Beer Tour

Denver is definitely known for its breweries, so you shouldn’t leave without trying at least a few of them.

Unfortunately, I was still under the legal drinking age in the US when I visited, but if I were to go back now I’d definitely want to take this breweries, cideries, distillieres, and fooderies tour from Urban Adventures (use code ADDIE for 10% off)! Talk about the quickest way to my heart.

For even more ideas on things to add to your Denver, Colorado itinerary, check out this awesome local’s guide to Denver!

Get a printable version of this itinerary to take with you on your trip!
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Colorado Itinerary Day Two – Boulder, Colorado

Start your time in Colorado off right by getting up bright and early and driving towards Boulder. There, you’ll get a real taste of everything that Colorado has to offer: from hiking, to excellent food and culture, to hippie tea. For more insight on a day in Boulder, check out my post about what I did.

Go Hiking in Eldorado Canyon State Park

Addie in Eldorado Canyon State Park, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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Spend your morning just outside of Boulder at Eldorado Canyon State Park, popular with the locals for hiking. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go for the strenuous Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, which climbs to the elevation of the Empire State Building and gives you amazing views over the continental divide.

Alternatively, take a guided hike like this one through Boulder’s Settler’s Park! Or this one, which involves a beer tasting at the end 😉

Visit the Celestial Seasonings Factory

Celestial Seasonings Tea Samples
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If you got an early start to your day (like I told you to 😉 ), then you should be able to make it for one of Celestial Seasonings’ factory tours with plenty of time to spare. While you’re there, learn all about how this famous herbal tea brand (and their tea) came to be, and try loads of free samples along the way. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

If you’re looking for something a bit more boozy, try a Boulder beer tour or cocktail tour!

Enjoy Pearl Street & Downtown Boulder

Boulder Pearl Street Buffalo
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Finally, make your way back into downtown Boulder and waste away your evening on Pearl Street. Grab some dinner, go shopping, and enjoy the plentiful street performances.

If you have a bit of extra time, consider taking an e-bike tour of the downtown area, or fill up on a food tour!

If you haven’t fallen in love with Boulder by the end of the day, you probably don’t have a soul.

And if you’re not quite ready to leave, there’s always the option to stay up late for an amazing astronomy tour!

Get a printable version of this itinerary to take with you on your trip!
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Colorado Itinerary Day Three – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Garden of the Gods

Perkins Central Garden Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs
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If you’re feeling exhausted after your first full day in Colorado, feel free to sleep in a bit this morning. Once you’re up and ready to go, head to Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs to check out the famous red rock formations. You’ll agree that they were put there by gods.

One thing you can’t miss while you’re there is the Perkins Central Garden Trail, which gets you up close and personal with the largest rocks in the Garden of the Gods. The Central Garden Train is paved and easy to walk–or you can even take a segway tour.

If you have more time, explore/hike the outer edges of the park. There are plenty of trails in the park to enjoy-just be sure to bring enough water! If you’re looking for a guided hike, then this is a great option.

If you’re feeling super adventurous, then you could even go rock climbing in the Garden of the Gods!

For more information, check out my post about my time at Garden of the Gods.

Dinner and Exploring in Downtown Colorado Springs

Once you’ve gotten your fill of otherworldly rocks, head into downtown Colorado Springs. Explore the quaint old mining town and grab dinner at one of the restaurants in the vicinity.

We ate at a really charming family Italian restaurant called Dat’s Italian! A cheesy name for sure, but it was everything American Italian food should be.

Alternatively, take a food tour!

Colorado Itinerary Day Four – Idaho Springs

Whitewater Rafting in Idaho Springs

AVA Whitewater Rafting Idaho Springs Colorado
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Take a break from all the hiking in the middle of your five days in Colorado and go whitewater rafting! If you thought you’d had adventure yet, just wait. I highly suggest going with AVA Whitewater Rafting in Idaho Springs. Hear why in my post all about how I beat a little bit of my anxiety with them.

Colorado itinerary Day Five – Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park

On your final day in Colorado, make your way to Estes Park for the best hiking yet — and a few ghosts.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountain Emerald Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
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Spend your morning experiencing Rocky Mountain National Park in all of its glory. If you’re a hiker, be sure to hike the Emerald Lake Trail to get a taste of everything that the park has to offer. From alpine lakes to snow topped peaks, you’ll be blown away at every turn.

For more information, check out my post about hiking the Emerald Lake Trail.

The Stanley Hotel

Freelan Oscar Stanley Hotel Statue
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Do you believe in ghosts? If not, you’ll leave the Stanley Hotel a full blown believer. Best known as the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, the ghost stories here are pretty crazy. If you’re brave, take their nighttime tour. Otherwise, go for the daytime history tour — you’ll get plenty of ghosts there as well. Just with more daylight.

For more information of the Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour check out my post on my visit.

Another alternative is to take a guided tour of Rocky Mountain National Park & The Stanley Hotel.

Final Thoughts on this Denver Itinerary

If you’re looking to get a taste of everything that Denver and Colorado have to offer, then this 5 days in Colorado itinerary is it. Explore downtown Denver, get out and hike, and maybe even do a super adventurous activity like whitewater rafting or rock climbing!

And there you have it! The perfect 5 days in Denver itinerary! Be sure to let me know if you do anything that I’ve suggested — I’d love to hear all about it!

Get a printable version of this itinerary to take with you on your trip!
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Pit it for later

Denver, Colorado and the surrounding area are great for adventure! Go hiking in the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park, visit Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods, and do all of the best things to do in Colorado in this Colorado & Denver itinerary! #usa #travel
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MY FAVORITE TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

Booking Flights: The first place I turn when I’m searching for flights is actually just Google Flights - it’s great to figure out what sort of routes are available. Then, I check Skyscanner and Kiwi for deals. I also love Kiwi for its destination: anywhere feature!

Transportation: I love Omio for figuring out the cheapest way to get from one place to another, and Trainline for booking train tickets within Europe.

Accommodations: I absolutely love Booking.com for finding great hotel deals. After you stay a certain number of nights, you get Genius discounts! For hostels, Hostelworld is my go-to, and I use Airbnb occasionally as well (click here for $40 off your first booking!)

Travel Insurance: I knew that I shouldn’t travel without insurance for the longest time, but I really learned my lesson when I got an infected cut in Bali. Thank goodness I had travel insurance! I use and love World Nomads for their extremely comprehensive coverage.

Travel Insurance: I knew that I shouldn’t travel without insurance for the longest time, but I really learned my lesson when I got an infected cut in Bali. Thank goodness I had travel insurance! I use and love World Nomads for their extremely comprehensive coverage.

Tours: I always check Urban Adventures for great day tours of cities first–I’m obsessed with them! GetYourGuide and Viator are also great options. For multi-day tours, I highly recommend Intrepid.

Camera Gear: I use a Sony Alpha A6300 camera with an 18-105 mm lens and a 35 mm lens. My tripod is the MeFoto Backpacker Air and I loooooove it! I also use a DJI Mavic Air and a GoPro and which allow me to capture everything my regular camera can’t.

26 thoughts on “5 Day Denver Itinerary // A Denver & Colorado Itinerary for Maximum Adventure”

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  7. Denver local here! I heartily agree with your blog. You are seeing/experiencing some of the best of Colorado. I would add Red Rocks to that list. The amphitheater, music hall of fame, hiking trails, and views. Incredible!
    Your website is beautiful by the way!!

    1. Thanks! I was lucky enough to have a local to show me around, so I feel like I got the best of everything 🙂 I’m really bummed I missed out on Red Rocks though!

  8. Hi Addie – My husband and I spent 6 days in Denver earlier this month and had the BEST time–thanks in large part to your blog! We used it as the framework for our trip and it was awesome. The link to the “Ultimate Denver Locals guide” was also invaluable. We went to Red Rocks, Boulder, Celestial Seasonings and took a Segway tour of downtown Denver–to name just a few! Thanks so much for your guidance!

  9. I have been reading more and more about Colorado lately and it seems right up my alley with all the parks and hiking! Think I’ll have to save my trip for the summer though as I’m not much of a skier ;P

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